Important People in Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

Heather Ann Thompson
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Nelson Rockefeller

From the beginning of the narrative, Thompson introduces Governor Nelson Rockefeller as a politically savvy figurehead with his feet in Albany but his mind in the White House. She implies that since Nixon’s “tough on crime” platform was “the platform that could get a man elected,” Rockefeller approached crime and inevitably prisons in the 1970s with a tightly-clenched iron fist in hopes that he could be launched to his party’s nomination (19). In the stressful days of the uprising, the observers committee, hostages, and inmates begged the governor to come to Attica, if only to help reassure the inmates that there would be no physical reprisals. Rockefeller refused, however, choosing instead to delegate authority and distance his name from direct involvement. During the many Attica investigations, Rockefeller maintained his position that the uprising was the result of revolutionary, radical, urban influence, and that his office...

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This section contains 2,480 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy Study Guide
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